Jobs & Unemployment

Overcoming the Hiring Challenge by Creating Trust

By Andrew McLeod, CEO, Certn

Everywhere you look, companies are struggling to fill their open positions, a situation attributed by many to the so-called Great Resignation. The hospitality industry is a prime example; even though it was hit hard by the pandemic and had to initially let people go, those people are not coming back to their jobs. Restaurants have had to cut back their “open” hours or only provide takeout meals because they don’t have enough employees.Job openings have hit record highs, but hiring has remained mostly flat.

The economic landscape is complex, and there’s no one reason for this disconnect, However, it highlights the need for increased trust between employers and prospective hires. The hiring process itself has a key role to play — and organizations need to rethink their approach.

The Importance of Trust

Trust is an essential component of business, and it’s an essential aspect of human relationships. When you combine the two in the hiring process, trust needs to be a two-way street. In other words, there needs to be an alignment of values between employees and prospective hires. Today, it’s harder than ever to find employees at all, much less great ones. It’s time-consuming and expensive to make a bad hiring decision. It’s equally frustrating for those new employees who find they’re not a good fit.

It’s important to highlight that “fit” goes both ways. It’s typical to think about hiring from the employers’ perspective; they're looking for assurance in the hiring process that a prospective employee will be a good fit. But historically, many companies have underestimated the inverse experience — what a candidate thinks during the hiring process about how they're treated and what they undergo.

Reputation and Trust

How a prospective employee experiences your hiring process can result in a significant impact on your company’s brand. Consumers are paying increasingly more attention to how companies build trust, have solid processes in place and whether they treat employees fairly. Bad news travels fast, and the last thing you want is a smear on your reputation at a time when it’s already difficult to find the talent you need. As an employer, you really don’t want someone stepping on their soapbox and broadcasting negative things about your business.

Paving the Two-Way Street

Many companies overlook or are simply ignorant of the need to build trust by extending branding into the hiring process. For example, although background checks or screening are important — especially for industries such as banking and healthcare — they don’t need to be bad or stressful experiences for the candidates.

There’s a strange paradox going on right now: there’s been much talk about employers not being able to find workers, but we’re also hearing many stories about job seekers not being able to land jobs, despite the many openings. Employers need to be thinking about what they can do to improve the hiring process from beginning to end — especially in terms of communication and respecting people's time — as well as what their role is in making candidates want to work for them. They can’t just go in with an assumption that a candidate would be lucky to be hired by them. That kind of mentality isn’t going to work in today’s economy and social climate.

Conversely, job seekers can help create the needed two-way street of trust by investing more time in researching the companies they want to work for in terms of their policies and actions. How are those prospective companies thinking about diversity, equity and inclusion, for instance? What kinds of services and structures do they have in place to support their employees?

Particularly due to the COVID-19 remote work boom, we’ve all learned a great deal about life/work balance and the things that matter in a job beyond just compensation. It’s incumbent upon jobseekers to do their own legwork to determine values alignment before applying.

Trust Flows Both Ways

It’s more complicated than ever to find that one right employee for the right job. The Great Resignation has multiple converging factors but burnout, lack of flexibility and feeling unappreciated are three of them. These all result when company leaders aren’t deeply tuned into their workers’ daily struggles. It’s hard to trust an employer who has no idea what daily life in the trenches is like.

Employers and job candidates need to meet in the middle of that two-way street. Each has a perspective that the other needs to understand and appreciate. Job seekers need to do their due diligence to ensure, as far as they’re able, that their values align with a potential employer. And employers need to design a hiring and background check process that doesn’t intimidate them or require many steps. Thoughtful attention to this process gives prospects the sense that you’re a trustworthy organization, and that’s the foundation for a successful, trust-based future relationship.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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